Poll suggests Obamacare could have cost Obama second term
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser
(CNN) — If you need any more evidence that the disastrous roll out of the new health care law is taking a toll on President Barack Obama’s plunging approval ratings, a new survey provides the proof.
And an ABC News/Washington Post poll also suggests that if the 2012 presidential election between the President and GOP challenger Mitt Romney were held today, Romney would hold a slight lead in the popular vote.
Obama’s approval rating stands at 42% in a new the poll released early Tuesday. That’s down six percentage points from a month ago and ties an all-time low for Obama in ABC News/Washington Post polling. And the President’s disapproval rating among Americans stands at 55%, up six points from mid-October and an all-time high in ABC News/Washington Post surveys.
Obama’s approval rating has now reached new lows or tied his historic lows in polls released over the past three weeks from ABC News/Washington Post, Quinnipiac University, National Journal Heartland Monitor, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal. And his numbers are nearing where his predecessor, George W. Bush, stood at this time in his second term.
A CNN Poll of Polls, compiled and released Tuesday, that averages the six most recent non-partisan live operator national surveys on the President’s approval rating puts Obama’s approval at 40% and his disapproval at 54%.
“Approval ratings for Obama and George W. Bush have followed the same pattern in their second terms for completely different reasons. For Bush, a natural disaster and an unpopular war were the primary reasons why his approval rating dropped to 41% in October 2005 and to 37% in November of that year,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
Support for Obamacare drops
The flawed startup of HealthCare.gov and the controversy over millions of Americans being told they will lose their current insurance plans because they don’t meet the new law’s requirements is fueling a drop in support for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Just four in 10 questioned in the ABC News/Washington Post poll say they approve of the new health care law and 57% oppose it. A month ago support stood at 46% with 49% opposed.
And disapproval of how Obama handled the health care law’s implementation has also surged, from 53% last month to 63% now. Only a third of the public gives Obama a thumbs-up on how he’s handled the roll out of the law.
More than seven in 10 say the problems with the health care website are serious enough that the government should delay the requirement that all individuals have health insurance or face fines. And the public’s divided on whether the government can recover from the massive problems implementing the new law or that the problems are a sign the measure is unworkable.
Would Romney win?
What if the 2012 presidential election were held today instead of just over a year ago. Forty-seven percent of people questioned in the poll say that they would vote for Obama, with an equal amount saying they would cast a ballot for Romney. Among the narrower pool of registered voters, Romney has a slight 49%-45% edge.
The President topped Romney 51%-47% last November to win a second term in the White House.
The poll doesn’t mean that Romney would win if the election were held today, of course — the race for the White House is not a battle for the popular vote, but rather a contest for the states and their electoral votes.
Obama taking a personal hit
When it comes to his polling, the president’s personal numbers have always been his saving grace, but a number of controversies this year, from the NSA to the IRS, compounded by the health care woes, are wearing away at Obama’s standing.
For the first time in ABC News/Washington Post polling, a slight majority (52%) have an unfavorable view of the President. He’s also underwater when it comes to his favorability in a couple of other new polls. That’s a big change from the beginning of the year, when his favorable ratings were hovering at or near 60% in some surveys.
“There’s been times where I thought we were slapped around a little bit unjustly — this one is deserved,” Obama said Thursday during a news conference on the health care woes.
And he acknowledged his personal attributes have taken a hit, saying, “I think it’s legitimate for them to expect for me to have to win back some credibility on this health care law in particular and on a whole range of these issues in general.”
Fifty-percent of those questioned in the ABC News/Washington Post poll say the President isn’t honest and trustworthy, similar to findings in last week’s Quinnipiac survey. And he’s also underwater when it comes to leadership and empathy.
And in another sign of how Obamacare’s hurting Obama’s poll numbers,only 41% say they consider the President a good manager.
One of the few silver linings in the survey: On the “you can keep your plan” controversy, people were asked whether they thought that the President told the public what he believed to be true or that he intentionally misled. By 52%-44%, Americans say they think Obama told people what he thought was correct at the time.
Indicators for 2014
Next November all 435 seats in the House and more than a third of the Senate are up for grabs. The Democrats currently hold a 55-45 advantage in the Senate and the GOP holds a 17-seat advantage in the House.
The president last week acknowledged that the health care roll out could hurt his party at the ballot box in 2014, saying, “There is no doubt that our failure to roll out the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they are running or not.”
And the poll agrees. Thirty-seven percent say a candidate’s support for the health care law would make them less likely to back that candidate, with 21% saying they’d be more likely to support that candidate. Four in 10 said it wouldn’t matter.
The poll’s release comes four days after 39 House Democrats broke party ranks and voted for a GOP bill that would alter the health care law, another sign of the concerns of some in the President’s party who could face challenging re-elections next year.
And for only the second time in ABC/Washington Post polling, the public’s divided on whether Obama’s views on most issues are too liberal or just right. The last time that Americans felt that was was two months before the 2010 midterm elections, when the GOP made an historic 63-seat pickup in the House to reclaim control of the chamber.
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